Archive for February, 2015

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Liars, Assurances, ROI and The Music Business – Some Please Explain

February 19, 2015

Can someone please explain artist logic to me?

I feel like, in general, artists make horrible decisions with their careers.

Please, before you get mad at me for saying this, hear me out.

Then, please prove me wrong.

1) LIARS: I feel like liars in this business get all the deals – It frustrates me to no end to lose business. I’m a naturally competitive person and I know the 17+ years of connections I bring to the table. And while I don’t like to lose business to anyone, I know that there are many wonderful PR firms, licensing companies and managers who are honest, hard working, have a great reputation and do their best to do a great job for every single client.

However, it seems like many of my competitors in the PR, licensing and management world prefer to lie to clients. They make big, huge promises that they can’t possibly fulfill.

Yet, artists and bands seem to buy this hook, line and sinker.

Years ago, I met with with a record label President recently who had sold tens of millions of albums. He was going to hire me to pitch his roster to film/tv. Instead, he hired a competitor of mine, who also happened to be a music supervisor.

Frustrated, I asked, “Why are you hiring them? They don’t even have the connections or reputation that I do!!!???”

He replied, “Whenever we’re on a call, they have all these staff on the call too and that impressed me. And they PROMISED they could get our songs licensed everywhere.”

“Yikes,” I thought to myself. I don’t have a huge staff. And honestly, I know most of those people working for that company were young kids making either no money or working for free as interns. Meanwhile, it’s just me here doing 99% of the work with some assistants or interns when needed. And I certainly never promise anyone anything because you can’t possibly know if a song is going to stick or how someone is going to react to an album.

Flash forward to him spending $72,000 ($3K a month for 2 years in a contract):

Him: “Hiring that company was a DISASTER!!!!!”

LET ME REPEAT THAT FOR YA!

A DISASTER!!!

Hmmm. I guess even successful people make horrible mistakes….but I lost out on a $72,000 client and 2 year deal because someone else lied….and now that company has a label on their roster that will impress other people for decades to come…even if they did a horrible job with their campaign.

I can’t lie. Truly. It’s not in my DNA. I will tell you if your music sucks. Believe me, I’ll try to be nice about it. But you would not believe how many hundreds of clients I’ve turned down because I told them I just couldn’t promote music I didn’t believe in or that wasn’t very good. I believe there’s always room for improvement and I rather someone go back 100 times to fix a song or songs to make them better than to take someone’s money to do a PR campaign for crappy music.

2) Assurances – I was chatting with one artist recently who said they wanted “assurances.” Now, I’m not sure if they meant “vote of confidence” or “guarantee” as the word has a few meanings but where I come from, when someone says, “assurances” they mean “guarantees.” Now, while I understand a lot of artists get nervous when it comes to working with a manager, signing a contract, hiring a publicist or doing a lot of the business stuff, this is a very scary word.

Assurances are basically guarantees.

And they don’t exist.

Let me tell you why.

THERE ARE NO ASSURANCES IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS.

Yup. You heard me right.

There just aren’t.

Why?

Mainly because music is an art form.

And art is subjective.

What I love, someone else may hate.

What someone else loves, I may hate.

I think you get the drill.

3) ROI – If one more artist sends me an email asking, “What’s my ROI if I hire you to do PR for me?” I think I will scream.

For those of you that don’t know, ROI stands for “return on investment.”

That is, people want to know, “If I spend $1 on a PR campaign, how much can I expect to get back?”

My answer is first….I laugh….

Then I say, “Since when did all artists become stock brokers?”

Because you suddenly start acting like you’re investing a million dollars in the stock market and you want to know what the stock has returned the past 10 years in order to make your decision.

Well, guess what?

There is NO ROI IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS. Not unless you’re investing in actual Apple stock or Pandora stock and Apple isn’t even a music company (although they like to pretend to be.)

NO ONE HONEST IN THIS BUSINESS CAN GUARANTEE YOU A DAMN THING.

And that’s a good thing!

Why?

Because, in my experience, GOOD, TALENTED artists have NO PROBLEM spending their own, hard earned money to promote their music. In fact, they WANT TO and are DYING to because they know they are so good that they can’t wait to hire you to get their music in front of everyone that matters.

Everyone else just dicks you around, wastes your time wanting you to “check out” their music for free, while they have no money for a PR campaign.

And for the few shady folks who claim they can do X, Y & Z, I STRONGLY advise you run FAR FAR AWAY from these people and not to sign or work with someone like that.

Because I’ve worked with many artists who have stupidly gotten into bed with a shady liar who promised them the world….and while they might get a slight bump from cheating the system, karma eventually catches up with them and then they vanish and fall to depths you have never seen.

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MY POINT IS THIS.

THERE ARE NO ASSURANCES IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS.

I MAY BELIEVE IN YOU AND YOUR MUSIC 110% BUT THAT IS NOT A GUARANTEE OF SUCCESS.

IF YOU WANT ASSURANCES AND ROI, GO TO MEDICAL SCHOOL. OR LAW SCHOOL. AND EVEN THEN….YOU AREN’T GUARANTEED ANYTHING. (After all, so many law school grads can’t even find jobs these days…but I digress…)

The music business is a subjective business where people’s opinions and the public’s fickle mood can determine whether or not you have a career.

Don’t believe the liars that give you “assurances” and promise you things.

I GUARANTEE YOU WILL END UP BROKE, DISILLUSIONED, DISAPPOINTED AND FULL OF REGRET.

Now, back to our reguarly scheduled, sometimes happy (but probably not) programming….

And tell me your thoughts about this article!

I love hearing from you!

Jennifer Yeko
True Talent PR ~ True Talent Management
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

~Artist Management~Music Licensing~Music Publicity
http://www.truetalentmgmt.com

“Anything worthwhile in life requires time, patience, and persistence.”
–Cheryl Richardson

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SXSW – A Huge Career Boost? Or a Huge Waste of Money?

February 5, 2015

This happens every year.

I get an email from an artist or band that is super excited they got into SXSW.

Maybe the official SXSW. Or maybe just an opportunity to play some shows there.

(In case you don’t know, SXSW is a huge music festival in Austin every March. It’s dubbed “spring break for the music business” and tens of thousands of people attend every year.)

Now, while I understand that there is a TREMENDOUS amount of hype around SXSW, I have to say THIS IS PROBABLY THE SINGLE WORST WAY TO SPEND MONEY AS AN ARTIST.

Don’t get me wrong.

SXSW is a lot of fun.

I went one year and spent $1500 between the last minute flight and an all access badge, food, etc. I had a free hotel to stay in courtesy of a friend so the $1500 didn’t even include hotels.

Did I have a blast?

You betcha.

Did I eat a lot of great BBQ?

You betcha.

Did I see a lot of amazing and many not so amazing bands perform?

You betcha.

Was is a huge, giant waste of money?

You betcha!

Artists and bands used to go to Austin every year to play gigs because A&R reps would be there, looking for new acts to sign….that was maybe 10 years ago.

Now SXSW is just a huge party.

I describe it as “Mardi Gras without the beads.”

It’s generally just thousands of drunk college kids stumbling around, having a great time on spring break with a smattering of industry folks.

$1500 could have bought me an amazing week in Hawaii.

Or a hell of a lot of PR and marketing for my company.

I met people, don’t get me wrong.

But not one of the industry contacts I made there lead to me making even $1.

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Now, don’t get me wrong.

SXSW is a great place to be if you want to check out a thousand different bands and artists playing.

It showcases everyone from metal bands to country icons.

But over the past 10 years it’s just devolved into a huge branding event for companies to showcase their company to the millennial generation.

Maybe if you are a band from North Dakota and have no way to play in front of more than 3 people, SXSW makes sense.

But for the average band?

There is nothing harder than trying to get people to come to a show in your home town, right?

Well, then try getting noticed when you’re playing at the same time as Prince or Coldplay or any band or artist people have heard of, let alone at the same time as the other 100-200 bands playing at any time of the day or night at SXSW.

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I want to hear from you!!!!

Have you ever been to SXSW?

Because if you have, I want to hear from you!

Email me and tell me about your experience! I want to hear all stories – good, bad, indifferent!

Jennifer Yeko
True Talent PR ~ True Talent Management
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

~Artist Management~Music Licensing~Music Publicity
http://www.truetalentmgmt.com

“Anything worthwhile in life requires time, patience, and persistence.”
–Cheryl Richardson